business news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in the New York Times, which reports that makers of household cleaners – including Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive – are faced with a conundrum.

On the one hand, they want to be consumer-friendly and environmentally sensitive by being transparent about the chemicals in their products. On the other hand, “companies do not want to give competitors and makers of cheap knock-offs all the details of what goes into Pine-Sol, for instance, or Windex.”

And so, the Times writes, manufacturers “have been working with consumer groups to devise a plan that could satisfy both sides. Come January, the industry has said it will voluntarily start to disclose much of what is in its cleaning products, which now represent a $14 billion-a-year business. Consumers will be able to call an 800 number, look at a Web site or, in some cases, simply check the product label to find the ingredients.”

While some consumer groups are pleased by the voluntary actions, others are less impressed, and want mandatory and complete disclosure – even though at the moment, federal law requires “only that ingredients posing an immediate danger be reported on product labels.”
KC's View:
Might as well be transparent, since that is what consumers demand in this age of information immersion (some would say information overload).

Transparency is a key value in 21st century marketing.